As a resident of San Francisco since 2001, I'm proud of our great city. The food, people, culture, and entrepreneurial atmosphere are incredible. Unfortunately, Big Bus Tours San Francisco is a terrible touring company that should go out of business.
I'm not proud of is Big Bus Tours (99 Jefferson St), a tour bus company which consistently disregards traffic signs, which pays no attention to passenger or pedestrian safety, and which frequently drives in No Bus Zone residential streets.
Big Bus Tours SF was formed through a merger in 2011 and has consistently wreaked havoc on the streets of San Francisco. It was a family run company, operated by siblings Richard, Eleanor and Desmond Maybury until they sold it to Exponent LLC in 2015, a private equity company.
Big Bus Tours SF Is The Worst
With all the bad things I noticed about the company, it was only a matter of time when I would encounter something wrong with them as well,
On a sunny afternoon on October 30, 2019, I was feeding and buckling in my child in the backseat after a visit to the California Academy of Sciences, when a Big Bust Tour driver started honking at me to move. My car was in the WHITE ZONE, where families can drop off and pick up their children and other members.
I had never seen a bus drop off and pick up passengers in the passenger white zone before, because there is a large section with BUS SIGNS that indicate where buses are supposed to stop and pick up and drop off passengers.
As a courtesy, I moved up about 10 feet, even though the bus is supposed to drop off passengers in the zone behind me. He decides to drive in and park right up next to me.
As I continue to feed my kid a quick snack, the driver then decides to get out of the bus and confront me. He starts yelling at me to move, and scolding me that I'm not supposed to park there. Meanwhile, there is another mother packing a stroller into her car in front of me.
Where the hell else are parents supposed to pick up and drop off their kids except for the white zone? Of course we have the right to park temporarily in the white zone. He acted like he owned the curb and try and intimidate and bully me even after I had already moved up and he had parked.
What was supposed to be a nice peaceful day with my family turned out to be a stressful situation that was totally unnecessary thanks to the asshole Big Bus Tour bus driver (Bus #84, license 47393H1). The guy has zero empathy or patience.
I’m embarrassed that the Big Bus Tour company exists. I'm also ashamed that this bus driver is what tourists think SF Bay Area residents are like.
More Bad Reviews For The Big Bus Tours SF
If you don't believe me that the Big Bus Tour SF is a terrible tour company, here are some other reviews from Yelp.
Greg on 9/29/2019 writes,
“There was basically ZERO information on the guided tour! There was music 75% of the time. Then when there was no music there was about 25 words of information. But the bus was generally 5 minutes early or late so. San Francisco has so much history. I would guess there was 15 minutes of actual spoken tourist information and if it 5 minutes was interesting.
What a waste of money. I could have given a better tour. Completely useless. There are competing bus tours with actual tour guides that use a microphones. Use the competitor instead!”
Ross on 10/25/2019 writes,
“The bus is not reliable. It does not stop to pickup customers. We bought our tickets and were told to stand in front of Stop 6 by the Hilton. We downloaded the app as explained to us and went to the waypoint on the app. We waited for 20 minutes. The bus drove right by without slowing down. We tried to chase it down to no avail.
We walked back inside the sales office and were told maybe we weren't in the right spot or saw the right bus. When we asked the sales clerk to tell us where to stand she took us back to the exact spot we were standing when the bus drove right by. The next bus didn't come for another 20 minutes. Be prepared for this company to waste your time.
Poor service for a tour. I have taken the BigBus in other cities. I read reviews online calling out the San Francisco branch for being of poor service. I have to agree in this case.”
Andrew on 7/27/19 writes,
“Be careful about Big Bus Tours SF. Driver was falling asleep and even at one point woke up and said, “oh I missed the green light, huh?” What a clown. Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge is no fun when you're trying to spark up a conversation to keep the driver awake. What a joke. Now I know why tour buses crash. CRAZY!!!'
Barbara on 7/5/2019 writes,
“Big bus Tours SF is a farce. They over sold tickets on July 5, 2019 in San Francisco. We waited over an hour at union square with a promise from MK that empty buses were on there way. Didn't happen. Took an Uber to fisherman's wharf. When we were done there we tried to board the big bus again but same problem. Complained to the young man at the check in there and he simply responded “it's 4th of July weekend”. We never did board a bus that day. Can't call their office, you just get a recording. They continued to over sell all day. I purchased at 11:30 am.
It's a scam!! Never again. Weak organization. Major tourist trap! Going through Credit card to dispute charges for services not rendered. Who wants to stand in line for hours while visiting San Francisco just for a bus tour. Don't waste your money. Uber and Lift are much better deals. They responded immediately.”
Stay Away From The Big Bus Tours
Avoid the Big Bus Tour like the plague. They are rude, unreliable, terrible value, and a blight to the great city of San Francisco. Consider walking, scootering, biking, or taking an Uber or Lyft around San Francisco instead.
When travel finally returns once we eradicate the coronavirus, I hope everybody comes to enjoy San Francisco.
San Francisco truly is one of the greatest cities in the world. Enjoy your stay, but avoid the Big Bus Tours SF!